Shabbat Shalom ~ Bemidbar 2023

Dear WJC Family,

In the Mishnaic book of Pirkei Avot (The Ethics of Our Fathers, 200CE), which we customarily read this time of year, the question is asked, “Who should be honored?” The text answers “The one who honors other human beings.” I like to refer to this season as “honoring” season and there are so many ways to be deserving of honor.

Some people are obviously worthy of honor—take for example Navy Chaplain, Lt. Commander Rabbi Yoni Warren, who will be our guest speaker on Friday night at 8:00pm (after the Rhythm & Ruach Friday service at 7:00pm). This rabbi who has dedicated his life to serving this country, the men and women of the Navy and the Jewish people, he is worthy of honor. I hope you will join us on Friday night to learn with my friend Rabbi Warren and hear more about Jewish life in the Navy.

Some people should be obviously deserving of honor and yet we need special days to honor them—moms and dads who work so hard on behalf of their children and graduates celebrating their educational milestones and achievements come to mind.

Honoring season also recognizes specific, unique accomplishments on behalf of others. Over the last month I have been privileged to kvell at events honoring not one, not two, not three, not four but five incredible women who are part of the WJC family. First, Myra Glajchen and her daughter Sussanah Cohen were honored by the Hadassah Westchester with the Generation to Generation Award. Next Meira Fleisch received the Julian Y. Bernstein Distinguished Service Award from WJCS. Then this week Karen Everett received special recognition as a leader of the Jewish Education Project and Jessica Berman, Commissioner of the National Women’s Soccer League and WJC member, was honored with the David J. Stern Leadership Award at the UJA Federation Sports for Youth Annual Luncheon. It is a special part of my role to sit at events like this and be awed by the goodness and effectiveness of these honorees. And the three that I got to hear speak all mentioned how they have been inspired by their Jewish roots and experiences – it warms a rabbis heart!

And of course, we have our own honoring event in the honoring season—this year it’s our Night on the Riviera, an evening celebrating WJC members Judy & Howard Zweig, Sharon Weinstock & Jacques Steinberg, and Glenna Lee (Young Leadership Award recipient). I hope you’ve already signed up for what promises to be a spectacular night of fun to honor these most worthy honorees.

And of course, this season we honor the Torah, as Shavuot arrives on Thursday night and we celebrate the anniversary of the giving of Torah. We have an awesome night of learning arranged for our customary “Tikkun Leyl Shavuot,” including master-teachers Glenna Lee, Tami Arnowitz, Seth Schafler, Hazzan Ellen Arad and Rabbi Menachem Creditor. The learning promises to be terrific, as does the traditional dairy meal beforehand. Please RSVP for dinner and the Tikkun so we know how many to expect.

I love honoring season—what a great way to all be worthy of honor, by giving it generously. Plus lots of kvelling—which is always good for the neshama (soul). We have a wonderful bat mitzvah to honor on Saturday morning, mazal tov to Gabrielle Wittick and her parents Isabelle and Matt. And Rabbi Warren will teach again at our Saturday evening mincha-maariv service to close out a beautiful Shabbat.

See you in shul,


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